Julie Freedman Smith & Gail Bell
Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca
to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!
February means report cards are sent home. Ideally, you’ve already had a few kind words with your child’s teacher prior to that dreaded call home or the disappointing report card. If so, then you have had the pleasure of meeting without the stress and emotion of a ‘problem to solve’. Whether you have established a relationship with the teacher or not, here are five things to keep in mind to make the most of any meeting with your child’s teacher.
- There are no sides. Most teachers teach because they love the profession and they love kids. They are not out to attack parents. The teacher is most likely on your side and wants to find a solution to the problem—just like you. Ask for the teacher’s expertise and suggestions for strategies that have worked with other students in the past.
- Come prepared. Write down your questions and concerns prior to the meeting. Just by walking into a classroom, one can suddenly feel like a 5-year-old who has been called to the principal’s office. Emotions may run high so having a list of questions can keep everyone on track.
- Begin with a feeling. Lead the conversation with a feeling rather than an accusation. If you are not sure how to start the conversation begin with one of the following:
- We are feeling really confused…
- We’re hoping you can help us to understand…
- This is uncomfortable but we really don’t like what is being said about our child…
- Write it down. Write down the agreed-upon solution along with dates/tasks. Be sure that you know who is doing what and when you will be in touch. Decide who will email/call whom and stick to the assignment. This way, you’ll be supporting your child by holding everyone (including the child) accountable.
- Follow the correct protocol. Feeling frustrated by your child’s teacher? Meet with the teacher first before going to administration. Give the teacher an opportunity to hear about and solve the problem. If it still isn’t working, then approach the next level in the hierarchy.
Image of teacher with kids from Shutterstock.
Embarrassed by your child’s play date behaviour?
Often misbehaviour is a means to get parents’ attention. Parents can get carried away visiting with each other and lose track of the behaviour of the children. If your kids are age 4 and under, you need to be within reach at all times to catch things before they turn into misbehaviour and help the kids to work it out. Other steps to include a happy and successful play date for all:
- Be sure that your child knows what is expected (how to treat the visitor). Discuss it together and then have them tell you what the expectations (and consequences) are. If your child typically yells at the visiting child, try telling them: ‘When you choose to treat your friend kindly you can keep playing. When I hear yelling, you are choosing to spend time on your own until you are back in control of your voice.’
- Plan the playdate with your child ahead of time. What are the activities your child wants to do? What are the toys they are willing to share? What toys need to be put away before the visitor arrives?
- Communicate and share a plan. When the visiting child arrives, have your child ask what their friend might like to do on this playdate. Work with the kids to determine a simple schedule for what they might do. Set up the schedule so that they play for a bit and then do something with you (snack, painting, go for a walk), before returning back to independent play, and then back to you if necessary.
Breaking up the independent play means that the kids are getting your attention at times when the behaviour is positive and not just when there is misbehaviour.
Keep play dates short, follow through with consequences and set the kids up for success.
Image of kids playing from Shutterstock.